About the Book
Homage is the title of this selection of poems by South Africa’s Poet Laureate and JBF patron, Keorapetse Kgositsile. Bra Willie, as he is affectionately known, chose these poems consistent with the 9th JBF Festival theme of Women and Literature. The poems pay homage to the women in his life. They emphasise the different roles that women play in our lives and the relationships that we all develop with women as mothers, grandmothers, sisters, friends, aunts, daughters, lovers and loved ones. The poems are about everyday life events; childbirth, birthdays and liberation. They are about women artists such as Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Cassandra Wilson and Gloria Bosman. This edition forms part of a special JBF publication series called ‘Pass On the Word’.
About the Author
Keorapetse William Kgositsile, also known as �Bra Willie�, was born on 19 September 1938. Bra Willie was the South African poet laureate and a political activist. He was an influential member of the African National Congress in the 1960s and 1970s. Bra Willie lived in exile in the United States from 1962 until 1975, the peak of his literary career. He made an extensive study of African-American literature and culture, becoming particularly interested in jazz. During the 1970s he was a central figure among African-American poets, encouraging interest in Africa as well as the practice of poetry as a performance art; he was well known for his readings in New York City jazz clubs. He was one of the first to bridge the gap between African poetry and Black poetry in the United States.
He was inaugurated as South Africa�s National Poet Laureate in 2006. In the last years of his like, Bra Willie dedicated his time for the youth, curating the �Pass on the Word, Pass on the Baton� series with Khanya College in 2016 and participating in the JBF schools programme for the past 4 years. Bra Willie passed away in 2018.